Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water's benefits in a cellphone game where users refuel Olympic runner Usain Bolt. The game, downloaded 30,000 times in California and 2.3 million times worldwide, is no longer available. The dispute between the sports drink company and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was settled in less than a day after Becerra filed a complaint in Los Angeles County. Becerra's complaint alleges the game, called Bolt!, misleadingly portrayed the health benefits of water in a way that could harm children's nutritional choices, the AP reports.
The game encouraged users to "keep your performance level high and avoid water," with the character Bolt's fuel level going down after drinking water but up after drinking Gatorade, the complaint alleged. The settlement should serve as a warning to companies that falsely advertise, Becerra said. "Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it's morally wrong and a betrayal of trust," he said. Gatorade agreed not to make any other games that give the impression that water will hinder athletic performance. (Read more Gatorade stories.)